June 10 – 18 is The Great Big Green Week, a week celebrating community action in tackling climate change and protecting nature. This blog post will look at the ways that Richmond upon Thames library service is playing its part.

Recycle and Reuse

A change we can all make to tackle climate change is reducing what we consume, and the easiest way to do that is to reuse what we have. That is the core ethos of our (and all) library services – providing high quality book stock for loan. Libraries must be one of the oldest models of sustainability, with a generous loan allowance of up to 30 books for up to three months* at no charge, there’s no compromises for book lovers with a Richmond Library Card. We have thousands of books to borrow from our collection and if we don’t have it then we will try our hardest to obtain it.

A selection of our book group setsPart of a book group? We have a huge collection of book sets to choose from that will save all your members purchasing their own books. Our registered groups just select the books they want we send it to their nearest branch library for collection. We buy new sets each year including the latest prize winners and best sellers as well as classics.

If you are interested in creating or joining a reading group, have a look at our page here.

What about old books?

Cardboard box with the Better World Book logo on it.Weeding is an essential part of maintaining our collection.  If you want the latest releases then we’ve got to make some room!  Weeded books that are in good condition are sent to a charity called Better World Books, who sell them to raise funds to support libraries and literacy (you can read more about this in a previous blog post we wrote here). Books that are beyond saving are recycled, as are the plastic jackets. Plastic jackets protect the books and enable books to be loaned multiple times but our suppliers are investigating plastic free ways to protect library books, so watch this space for developments!

Paper free reading

Another way we save using paper and plastic is the provision of eBooks, eAudiobooks, and comics from our eLibrary platforms, Libby, BorrowBox and Cloud Library.  In addition to saving paper, it also gives you as a user much more flexibility (who wants to lug around a heavy book on holiday?) and saves the library service from having to buy new copies when the old ones become worn.

Library members also get unlimited access to national and international newspaper and magazines with PressReader. Top titles like The Economist and New Scientist are free to read on the day of publication and there’s back issues too.

Further reading about Climate Change

If you want to educate yourself about the context of climate change, or practical things that you can do to help, have a look at some of our suggested reads. Fire & Flood by Eugene Linden traces the comprehensive history of climate change, looking at the reality of climate change, advances in scientific understanding, and public knowledge about climate change. Hot Mess by Matt Winning is a light but informative read about what actions people can and cannot do to fight climate change. Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squid by Thor Hanson is a more focused look about how nature is adapting to climate change. For more suggested reads, pop into any of our libraries this June and take a look at our displays, or take a look on our catalogue front page.

Front cover of the book Fire & Flood: A People's History of Climate Change, from 1979 to the Present by Eugene Linden. The book cover is in black and white, and depicts a cloud over dry land. Book cover of Hot Mess: What an earth can we do about climate change? By Matt Winning. The cover is a melting earth (like ice cream). Book cover of Hurricane Lizards and Plastic Squids by Thor Hanson.

Recycling Small Electrical Waste

As for the library buildings themselves, all libraries excluding Kew and the Reference library have WEEE bins where users can recycle their small electrical items, and East Sheen, Ham, Hampton, Richmond, Teddington, and Twickenham also offer battery recycling.

Name our eBike!

Librarians and the team who support the delivery of the library service have an eBike to get around the 12 libraries dotted across the borough. Equipped with large  panniers to accommodate books it is the perfect way to get around quickly but…it remains nameless.  Help us name our eBike! Keep an eye out on our social media linked below to vote.

Photograph of the library eBike with two panniers on either side. Located inside the library.




* Books can’t be renewed if there is a reservation on the copy.